21-month-old shot and killed in Hartsville

Scene on Bell Avenue in Hartsville/Andrew Prue

Hartsville police have charged Timothy Sanders, 40, with Murder and Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime in the shooting death of 21-month-old Madison Dolford, according to Hartsville City Manager Natalie Zeigler.

Zeigler says the child's mother, April Dixon, is charged with Accessory After the Fact of Murder and Misprison of a Felony. Sanders says he is the child's father, but Hartsville Police Chief James Hudson says it will up to state police to determine through DNA testing if that is the case.

The pair also face drug charges.

A bond hearing is scheduled for them Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 at the Darlington County Detention Center.

The toddler was shot in the back yard of a home on Bell Avenue about 6:15 p.m. Monday. Authorities say the shooting followed an argument between adults. Investigators say whether the child was the intended target or whether she was hit by a stray bullet is not clear at this time.

Authorities searched for a suspect for several hours after the shooting. That search has now been called off.

Dozens of people gathered near the home where the little girl was shot and killed, including State Senator Gerald Malloy.

"We realize we have a very heinous act, a tragedy here. The loss of a child, a child 21 months of age. I don't think you can get any worse or a more despicable act as to what has happened. What these folks in law enforcement are doing is making certain they are putting the pieces together so that they bring that person to justice. This is one of the most unfortunate things I've seen in all my years of living," said Senator Malloy.

Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington took to Twitter after the shooting to say, "We have a responsibility to protect our citizens and our city. We must deploy stronger measures in high crime areas -- immediately." and "Our hearts are heavy tonight as a city mourns a senseless act of violence, ending the life of an innocent little angel."

"Any crime that involves a shooting or loss of life is extremely important to us," Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd said. "But when a child is involved, it has a much more intense sense of purpose, and it just strikes home for the officers much more. They think about their own children, friends and family. It makes it that much more of an urgent sense of wanting to solve that crime."

We will continue to follow this story throughout the day.

*Earlier reports from authorities on scene had the child's age as 18 months old. According to Darlington County Coroner J. Todd Hardee, the girl's correct age is 21 months old.